Mona Lisa Mystery Solved
Note from Leonardo contemporary clears up mystery
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2008 9:50 AM CST
The Mona Lisa. A note found scribbled in the margins of a collection of Cicero's letters owned by a Da Vinci acquaintance is said to have settled the question of who modelled for the painting. Art historians...   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – The true identity of Mona Lisa has puzzled art historians for centuries. A wealthy merchant's wife called Lisa was the obvious candidate, but speculation persisted that the woman with the come-hither smile was Leonardo da Vinci's mother, his lover, or even Leonardo himself. Now German experts say they've solved the mystery, Reuters reports: The portrait is indeed the merchant's wife.

Academics found a note scribbled in a book owned by an acquaintance of Leonardo's mentioning that the artist was working on a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. The painting is also known as "La Gioconda," meaning "joyful woman" in Italian, and suggesting Lisa's married name. The discovery is being hailed as a breakthrough. "All doubts about the identity of the Mona Lisa have been eliminated," said a manuscript expert.